Guns in Plymouth create heartbreak and havoc

by Gun Control Network on 17-08-2021

We offer our heartfelt sympathy to the victims, their loved ones and all those affected by this horrific shooting in Keyham.

This incident is yet another reminder of the destructive power of guns and their capacity to create heartbreak and havoc in peaceful communities.

The police now know that the killer had a licence for his gun and that their licensing process has failed. There are around 1.4 million licensed shotguns in England and Wales, and 546,000 shotgun licence holders. The fee for a 5-year licence is £80,  i.e. £16 per year. This is not the true cost because the fee is subsidised by the taxpayer.

GCN asks if we really need all these weapons. It is said that they are needed by farmers but there are only around 200,000 farms in the country. It is said that they are wanted for shooting birds and animals, but do we really want to encourage the killing of beautiful creatures for fun?

It is also said that it’s impossible to predict who will become unstable and commit an atrocity with a gun. If that is the case, then we can at least reduce the risk of this happening if we have fewer guns in circulation. The police are under-resourced and firearms licensing is low on their agenda. With so many guns to license, it’s surprising we don’t have more tragedies of this kind.

Gill Marshall-Andrews Chair of the Gun Control Network says:

“The tragedies of multiple shootings, both in this country and internationally, are almost always committed by men with legally held guns. Hungerford, Dunblane, Cumbria, Horden – these were all awful killings perpetrated by firearms licence holders. And now this horrible incident in Plymouth is added to this list.

For years GCN has been seeking information about the legal status of guns used in crime. The shooting lobby maintains the myth that licensed gun owners are law abiding and reliable members of their communities. Most of them may be, but what is clear is that the more guns there are in circulation, the greater the chance of an atrocity like this one in Plymouth.

We are much more likely to be attacked and killed by someone we know with a legal gun than by a terrorist we don’t know and we need much more oversight of gun owners in this country.”